Friday, February 26, 2010

Zhora The Chimp Sent To Rehab

chimp drinkingA Russian chimpanzee has been sent to rehab by zookeepers to cure the smoking and beer-drinking habits he has picked up, a popular daily reported on Friday.

An ex-performer, Zhora became aggressive at his circus and was transferred to a zoo in the southern Russian city of Rostov, where he fathered several baby chimps, learned to draw with markers and picked up his two vices.

"The beer and cigarettes were ruining him. He would pester passers-by for booze," the Komsomolskaya Pravda paper said.

It added he has now been transferred to the city of Kazan, about 800 km (500 miles) east of Moscow, for rehabilitation treatment.

Full story here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monkey Twins Born In Nazi Bunker

monkey twins naziTwo rare monkey twins have been born inside a giant Nazi wartime bunker in the middle of the Austrian capital Vienna.

After the war Vienna council officials were left scratching their heads about what to do about the massive steel reinforced concrete bunker that once housed giant anti flak guns.

After a decade of debate they decided to turn it into a tropical aquarium complete with a giant rainforest greenhouse strapped on the side.

Now two Cottontop Tamarin twins were born there in a tiny cave on a small climbing wall.

A spokesman for the organisation said: "They live on a wall above the crocodile pond - but we haven't lost any of our monkey colony yet so we are not worried."

Full story here.

Greenville Zoo Celebrates Birth Of Colobus Monkey

colobus babyThe Greenville Zoo recently welcomed a male black and white colobus monkey in what was a surprise for zoo staff. This on is the second successful colobus birth at the zoo.

The monkeys are part of a Species Survival Plan, a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums designed to maintain genetic diversity among species outside the wild.

“The birth of this threatened species is an extraordinary event, and we are thrilled to be able to share it with the community,” said Jeff Bullock, Greenville Zoo director. “The baby colobus monkey had a successful routine physical and is adapting extremely well in his new environment. We hope with the warmer temperatures, the public will have the opportunity to see him quite a bit as he makes his debut.”

The zoo is holding a naming contest for the new baby. Suggestions must be submitted by March 12, 2010 to or mailed to: Name the Baby Contest, Greenville Zoo, 150 Cleveland Park Drive, Greenville, SC 29601. Winners will be announced at a zoo celebration in late March. The winners of the contest will receive a basket valued at more than $200, which includes a Peacock Zoo membership.

Full story here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monkey Park To Reopen After Herpes Scare

monkey herpesA safari park monkey enclosure which was closed down after an outbreak of the deadly simian herpes virus will reopen to the public.

Keepers at Longleat Safari Park, near Warminster, made the discovery in November 2008 during a routine test.

Simian herpes can be transmitted from monkeys to humans through a bite, scratch or spit and 80 per cent of people who contract it die because there is no cure.

The Monkey Jungle drive-through enclosure has been closed for the last 15 months but will reopen this summer after staff built a fenced-off area for visitors.

It is not known if any of Longleat's 100 monkeys are still suffering from the virus, which was uncovered after a female tested positive.

In December 1997, research worker Elizabeth Griffin, 22, died of the simian herpes B virus at the Yerkes Regional Primate Centre at Emory University, Atlanta, USA.

She had been splashed in the eye with monkey spittle two weeks earlier and did not seek medical attention.

Full story here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Half Of All Primate Species 'In Danger Of Becoming Extinct'

orangutanGorillas, orang-utans and a cyanide-eating lemur are among the world’s 25 most critically endangered primates, scientists have said.

Almost half of the world’s primate species are in danger of extinction, according to the Red List drawn up by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Deforestation and hunting have pushed some of mankind’s closest relatives to the brink, with some species down to their last few dozen animals. Of the world’s 634 species of primates, 48 per cent are threatened with extinction, but researchers want attention focused on the 25 most critically endangered.

These include the Cross River gorilla, confined to the hills of the Cameroon-Nigeria border. It is thought that fewer than 300 remain, as farmers clear the forests where they live. Also listed is the Sumatran orang-utan, one of only two species of the ape, now found in the wild only at the northern tip of the Indonesian island, where about 6,600 remain.

Many of the most endangered primates are unique to the island of Madagascar, among them the greater bamboo lemur, numbering little more than a hundred individuals. The species eats only giant bamboo, which contains high levels of cyanide — meaning the lemur theoretically ingests enough of the poison every day to kill it. How it survives is a mystery.

“They seem to have a way of avoiding the effects of the cyanide,” said Christoph Schwitzer, of the Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, and one of the editors of the report Primates in Peril. “We reckon it’s eating earth, which binds the cyanide into a compound which makes it harmless to the respiratory system. But it needs more research.”

The lemurs cope with poison but are being wiped out by slash-and-burn farming and illegal logging. Also endangered on the island is the Sclater’s black lemur, the only primate other than human beings to have blue eyes.

“The biggest threat to most primates is destruction of forests,” Dr Schwitzer said. “In Madagascar it’s subsistence agriculture, in Asia it’s palm oil plantations, in South America it’s illegal logging. What needs to be done is habitat protection.”

Full story here.

Snow Monkey Euthanized After Biting Child

A state official said Wednesday that a 35-pound Japanese snow monkey had to be euthanized last week after it bit a 3-year-old girl on the hand at a home in Carencro.

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said in a news release that the incident occurred Feb. 9

The girl was bitten by the monkey, a Japanese Snow Macaque, while at a friend’s house and had sought treatment at an after-hours clinic, according to the release.

Snow monkeys can carry and transmit rabies and the herpes B virus and doctors needed to know whether the monkey was infectious at the time of the bite to avoid any unnecessary potentially dangerous treatments for the girl, the release stated.

Officials responded to the residence where the bite occurred and sedated the monkey with a tranquilizer dart. Afterward, the monkey was transported to a facility to test the animal. It was then euthanized in order to test for rabies, the release said.

“Unfortunately, in this situation, euthanasia was our only option to perform the testing necessary,” Maria Davidson, LDWF Wildlife Division’s Large Carnivore biologist, said. “At this point in time the little girl’s health is the number one priority and getting the test results quickly will help determine if she needs to have any further treatment for the rabies and herpes B virus.”

Full story here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Beloved Gorilla Dies At Toledo Zoo

malaika gorillaA gorilla born at the Toledo Zoo nearly 40 years ago has died.

Malaika, a 38-year-old gorilla, died Tuesday afternoon from what zoo officials say was congestive heart failure. The female animal developed a cough over the past ten days that was not responding well to treatment. A cardiac evaluation on Tuesday showed she was in congestive heart failure. After the exam she went into cardiopulmonary arrest and was not able to be resuscitated.

Toledo Zoo Executive Director Dr. Anne Baker says Malaika was a beloved ape. "By bringing three offspring into the zoo gorilla population," Dr. Baker stated, "Malaika played an important part of the preservation of the species during her long life. Even as we miss her, we take comfort in the legacy that she left behind."

Malaika was born at the Toledo Zoo in 1971 and was a fixture at the zoo all her life. Her three children, including daughter, Johari, and two grandchildren, Bwenzi and Dara, still live at the Zoo's Kingdom of the Apes.

Full story here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Escaped Gorilla Recaptured At Dallas Zoo

gorilla escapeOfficials at the Dallas Zoo say they still are unclear how a 180-pound gorilla managed to temporarily escape from its enclosure.

Tufani the gorilla was first seen on top of her cage Saturday morning and within the hour, the 19-year-old animal was tranquilized and returned to its 40-foot-by-50-foot enclosure, The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday.

"She was nervous," Lynn Kramer, deputy director of animal conservation and science at the zoo, said of Tufani. "She wanted to get in her cage with her mate and was looking for a way back in."

SWAT team members of the Dallas police force were called to the zoo following the initial sighting of the female gorilla.

Full story here.

Chimp Attacks Volunteer At Florida Primate Sanctuary

chimp atackAndrea Maturen, a young but seasoned volunteer, is known to horse around with the chimps she cares for at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary.

Shawn, an 11-year-old chimpanzee, is known for her gentle way, quirky mannerisms and fingerpainting skills.

Friday morning, something went terribly wrong when Shawn relentlessly attacked and chased Maturen, 22, who had been cleaning a nearby cage.

Maturen's arm was severely broken in the scuffle, authorities said. Here's what they say happened:

Around 11:30 a.m., Shawn and another chimp got out of their cage and into an adjacent cage the volunteer was cleaning. Shawn began attacking Maturen. The young woman struggled, but the chimp Shawn kept coming after her.

They both ended up outside the primate sanctuary. Maturen fought to break free, and tried to run inside, but Shawn followed her. Maturen finally had to lock herself in a bathroom to escape Shawn's wrath.

Handlers got the chimps back in their cage, asked everyone to leave and put the sanctuary on lockdown. Maturen was taken to Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital in Tarpon Springs for treatment of serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

"The potential could have been a lot worse," said Lt. Steve De Lacure of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who is investigating the incident.

Full story here.

Clint Eastwood's Ape Sidekick Rescues Great Ape Trust Caretaker From Attack

popiAn orangutan bit a caretaker’s hand at Great Ape Trust Saturday morning, leaving only bruises, before a second ape with ties to actor Clint Eastwood came to the rescue.

Stephanie Perkins was standing outside the orangutan enclosure about 10:30 a.m. and reached in to collect a urine sample from orangutan Popi as part of standard procedures for the apes’ medical monitoring.

Another orangutan, Katy, grabbed the caretaker’s right hand and bit the fleshy part of the palm.

Popi − who starred with Eastwood in “Any Which Way You Can” in the 1980s − then smacked Katy, who let go of Perkins’ hand.

Ape trust spokesman Al Setka said Perkins’ wound appeared to be a pressure bite, which apes inflict as a warning.

Typically, apes inflict far more serious injuries in a full attack.

“We are relieved this wasn’t more serious,” Setka said.

Setka said he knows of no other attacks on caretakers at the trust, an ape research center studying orangutans and bonobos.

Full story here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Zoo Atlanta Orangutan Dies From Respiratory Issues

jt orangutnZoo Atlanta officials say a 20-year-old Sumatran orangutan has died after suffering from a long-term respiratory illness.

Dwight Lawson, senior vice president of collections at the zoo, said the animal - known as J.T. - died Thursday night after a battle with chronic respiratory infections for the last decade. Respiratory infections are a common cause of death in orangutans.

J.T. was born at Emory University's Yerkes National Primate Research Center in 1989 and came to Zoo Atlanta three years later.

Full story here.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Louisville Zoo Welcomes New Baby Gorilla

gorilla bornThe Louisville Zoo has a new baby gorilla, the second to 20-year-old western lowland gorilla Mia Moja.

The birth, on Saturday, marks the first gorilla born in North America this year and the second born in the Louisville Zoo's 41-year history.

The first was male Azizi born to Makari on Dec. 4, 2003.

Louisville Zoo director John Walczak says the staff is excited about the new addition and Mia Moja and the newborn are doing well. The father is 22-year-old silverback Mshindi. It is Mshindi's first offspring and Mia Moja's second.

Full story here.

Street Camera Shows 'Monkey' Roaming Darwin, Australia

monkeySecurity camera footage has been released that apparently shows a monkey scampering across a street in Darwin.

A bus driver and several other people said they spotted the small primate wandering around Darwin's northern suburbs on Friday morning.

Following the sightings, the Northern Territory environment department issued a warning for people to stay clear of the animal.

"Monkeys can be aggressive and bite," the department said.

All registered monkeys have been accounted for.

The department says the roaming monkey could have been brought illegally to the Territory from Asia and could be carrying exotic diseases, such as rabies.

It says the monkey has not been spotted since Friday.

Full story here.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Henry Doorly Zoo Gorilla Predicts More Winter

gorillaPennsylvania’s Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow Tuesday and was scared back into his hole for six more weeks of winter, but the famous groundhog got a run for his money from a gorilla at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

The 6-year-old gorilla decided to try her hand at weather predicting as zookeepers set out two boxes, one a white box with pictures of pine trees on it and the other a box decorated blue with spring designs.

"We're going to see which one, Bambio is the gorilla's name, is going to, to forecast what lies ahead for us,” said zoo director Dennis Pate. “We can't be any worse than a 50-50 chance, which is what the experts are giving us today."

Bambio sided with Phil and chose six more weeks of winter. The boxes, wrapped with tissue, contained the same vegetable treats.

Full story here.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Give 'Koko Love' This Valentine's Day

koko paintingValentine's Day animal and gorilla lovers can give the gift of art by Koko, delighting your sweetheart while helping save endangered gorillas. Koko, the famous lowland gorilla that communicates using American Sign Language (ASL), has a vocabulary of over 1300 words. Koko loves to express herself through painting as well, and often displays a profound sense of color and motion in her works of art.

Artwork and prints available here:

Full story here.

Bonobos Never Seem To Learn Selfishness

BONObo chimpsSharing is a behavior on which day care workers and kindergarten teachers tend to offer young humans a lot of coaching. But for our ape cousins the bonobos, sharing just comes naturally.

In fact, according to a pair of papers in the latest Current Biology, it looks like bonobos never seem to learn how not to share. Chimpanzees, by contrast, are notorious for hogging food to themselves, by physical aggression if necessary. While chimps will share as youngsters, they grow out of it.

In several experiments to measure food-sharing and social inhibition among chimps and bonobos living in African sanctuaries, researchers from Duke and Harvard say these behavioral differences may be rooted in developmental patterns that portray something about the historical lifestyles of these two closely related apes.

When compared with chimps, bonobos seem to be living in "a sort of Peter Pan world," said Brian Hare, an assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University, who participated in both studies. "They never grow up, and they share."

Hare and his mentor, Richard Wrangham, the Ruth Moore Professor of Anthropology at Harvard, think this kinder, gentler ape's behavior has been shaped by the relative abundance of their environment. Living south of the Congo River, where food is more plentiful, bonobos don't compete with gorillas for food as chimps have to, and they don't have to compete much with each other either.

In essence, they don't have to grow up, Hare said, and cognitive tests that the team performed on the captive animals seem to bear that out. Bonobos shared like juveniles even after they reached adulthood.

Full story here.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Wild Bonobo Mother Seen Eating Infant

bonobo cannibalA wild bonobo has been seen cannibalising her own recently deceased two and a half-year-old infant.

Among apes, such behaviour is extremely rare, only being reported before among orangutans, and never by bonobos, our closest relative alongside chimps.

Though uncommon, the behaviour may not be aberrant, says the scientist who witnessed it.

But it does further challenge a widely perceived notion that bonobos are an especially "peaceful" ape species.

The discovery is reported in the American Journal of Primatology.

Full story here.